Thursday 6 June 2013

Thursday, June 06, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, June 06, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

George Osborne to stop energy firms exploiting £900m tax loophole
The Chancellor said gas and electricity companies have attempted to "unfairly" claim up to £900m in tax relief. The utility firms were claiming on expenses paid, in fact, by their business customers. The expenses are for changes and improvements made to supply lines, done by the energy firms, but paid for by those businesses. Osborne promised to change the law to prevent companies making such claims. TELEGRAPH
(Said one energy firm exec: “This contemptible little fraud common among the dodgiest of backstreet operations is just part of our graduate training programme. We start them off by getting them to claim on the same expenses twice. In a few short years they’re rigging energy markets, fixing international prices, and running a secret cartel to hike your bills.”)

Britain has highest food and energy inflation in Europe
The OECD said UK food prices in April were 4.6% higher than the same month a year ago: it was 3.7% in Germany, 1.6% in France and just 1% in the US. Energy inflation in the UK was 2.2% – more than four-times Germany’s. In nearly a dozen European countries energy prices fell this month, including France, Belgium, Denmark and Spain. UK consumers may be suffering from the low pound but also less competition than other markets. Ross Walker, chief economist at RBS, said: "The concentration of the big four supermarkets in the UK must give them pricing power."  TELEGRAPH

Policing of payday lenders is timid, say MPs
The OFT has been "ineffective and timid" in tackling rogue payday and door-to-door lenders, MPs said. Unscrupulous behaviour by these lenders cost consumers at least £450m a year. The OFT has never given a fine to any of the 72,000 firms in this market and only five have lost their license. It also failed to effectively prevent directors of lenders that lost their licence from setting the business up again under a different name. The OFT defended itself by saying they lack sufficient regulatory powers and can impose a fine only in limited circumstances. Door-to-door and payday lending had risen significantly since the financial crisis.
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(Who needs wider regulatory powers and fines to keep people in line? A couple of burly men and a knuckleduster usually does the trick…)

In one week, three Lords and one MP are caught agreeing to payment from lobbyists in exchange for influence
Lobbying bill will be brought to parliament by end of July, says No 10. Downing Street announces new schedule for bill that would introduce statutory register following spate of lobbying scandals. GUARDIAN

Premier League rip-off as Manchester United and Manchester City charge children £100 for new season's replica kits
Parents are left fuming at the 'ridiculous' price. The cost of adult shirts (i.e. without the shorts and socks) has also been hiked by 24% to over £50. Up until recently clubs only changed their shirt design in alternate seasons. But now many use three or four different shirts which they change every year. In 2003, Umbro, the English FA, Manchester United and six sports chains were fined more than £16m by the Office of Fair Trading for colluding to inflate the price of football shirts. A club spokesman said: ‘The cost reflects value to the consumer through design, innovation, development, manufacturing, and retailing.” DAILY MAIL
(“...and don’t forget the cost of our over-paid marketing execs. They’re the ones that noticed the OFT is on the lookout for ruthless profiteering by the nation’s global brands. But nobody regulates kiddie pester power, guilt, and all those other lovely emotions that get you to buy our stuff. It’s a funny old game…” said our Premier League insider...)

It won't happen to you! Average weekly lottery player loses almost £150 a year
With £3 the average amount spent each week - a Lotto and Euromillions ticket the most popular combination - the cost mounts up to £156-a-year, with the average players winning just £10 of this back, the equivalent of getting three numbers on Lotto. Some £6.5bn was spent on National Lottery tickets during 2012, and since its inception in 1994 around 3,000 millionaires have been created. Last year the National Lottery posted record sales, in the midst of the recession. DAILY MAIL
(...and no wonder. By now we should all be feeding the meter of hope over experience…)

Families to be £1,800 a year worse off by 2015, IFS says
Furthermore, a childless couple is likely to lose £1,248 a year, or £24 a week. The IFS also said that over the next three years, less well-off families will be hit harder than those with higher incomes. The cuts in spending power are because incomes are failing to keep pace with inflation, and because of changes to the benefits system. "Most of the falls in real incomes associated with the recession have now happened for middle- and higher-income groups," said Robert Joyce, a senior economist at the IFS. "But much of the pain for lower-income groups is occurring now, or is still to come," he said. BBC NEWS
(…All just in time for everyone to cast their votes at the 2015 elections…)


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